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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As mentioned in a previous thread am in the process of setting up a new business here. Our company in the UK is partly owned by the investment arm of one of the UK's leading banks ( with no presence in UAE). The feedback from the bank members on our board is that settiing a bank account up here is difficult and can take an age.

I have spoken with HSBC and recived thier application form and the decision on whether you get an account seems to be dependant on the decision of the branch manager and can take a week or 2 to get a decision.

Anyone have experience of this and is it really a difficult task? given all the small businesses here i find it hard to believe its a difficult task, but then again knowing the banks here it wouldnt surprise me.

Our situation is representative office of overseas company, no P&L activities just consulatancy and support activities for sales, purchase and supplier development. Company will be a free-zone company with a small account holding around 20K aed to support local bills and expenses etc.

Would be grateful for recommendation on banks that will allow a small company to open an account, simply and with a small holding balance. dont fancy trawling around banks just to be told no.
 

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Forget HSBC, had a nightmare with them since they took over LLoyds.

Emirates NBD must have The Goodies, Bay City Rollers and Spangles piped to their offices as that's where their business products belong.
 

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This is just a brief note about my experience ... not sure it'll help you much.

Our company is in a very similar boat as yours. I have a branch office setup in a free zone, branch office of a European company. We are doing consultancy/support activity so only needed a bank account to manage local bills and expenses.

My colleague setup a corporate account with RBS when it still existed - I am not sure how complicated this was but my understanding was that it wasn't simple. They required a bunch of original attested/reattested documents from our European office. Once the account was setup, RBS was sold to ADCB and this is when I came to Dubai.

Trying to become a signatory on the corporate account was a nightmare and at one point we finally figured out that ADCB doesn't have all the documents we submitted to RBS to create our account. I had to resubmit everything. Took about 4 months for me to have access to existing corporate account.

I find that dealing with corporate accounts here is red-tapped to a point of inefficiency. The service I get from ADCB's corporate banking department is worst than what most people say they get for private account - Yet, I pay ridiculous fees eg: 200aed per month for internet banking. I have once or twice mentioned to my "relationship manager" that I'll really need to switch banks if the poor service continues, to which, every time, I have been told "no problem sir. We'll need a letter on company's letter head stating you want to close your account and we'll process the request for you immediately".

One of my theories is that since our account doesn't generate a lot of income for the bank eg: I am not bringing in loads of employee/salary accounts, taking out loans, investments etc, they simply don't give a damn.

Hope you have better luck than I did.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One of my theories is that since our account doesn't generate a lot of income for the bank eg: I am not bringing in loads of employee/salary accounts, taking out loans, investments etc, they simply don't give a damn.

Hope you have better luck than I did.
Cheers, the above was my concern, im sure i heard something on Dubai eye a few months ago about HSBC closing business accounts as they didnt generate a great income for the bank, they just sent letters to customers basically say ' do one'
 

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Agree....forget HSBC. They really aren't interested in helping representative offices unless you are banking millions with them.

I had endless red tape, long delays, emails going unanswered and when they did eventually get around to issuing me with Debit cards for the account, they had mis-spelt my name (which is pretty hard since my Christian and Family names combined is only a total of 7 letters !)
 

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they just sent letters to customers basically say ' do one'
They didn't even send out letters. Just shut the accounts and informed customers in branch "the courier tried to deliver to you but you didn't answer". Which funnily enough happened when collecting debit cards, cheque books etc.
 

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Is it mentioned in your Trade license that you are operating as a Branch in the UAE? Or is it an independant entity?
If independent, the process should be easier. UNB has been helpful towards me (hold a FZ company account). Less of embarrassment and hassles with paperwork or unwanted questions. Gets all the jobs done as well. International wires come in +/- 2 business days.
 

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Agree....forget HSBC. They really aren't interested in helping representative offices unless you are banking millions with them.

I had endless red tape, long delays, emails going unanswered and when they did eventually get around to issuing me with Debit cards for the account, they had mis-spelt my name (which is pretty hard since my Christian and Family names combined is only a total of 7 letters !)
I agree, avoid HSBC if you can.

Our company account is with HSBC, but we set it up almost 20 years ago, in the "good" times. So far we faced not many issues; but we have a relative low volume, high value transactions. BUT.... I am not surprised if tomorrow I would have an issue.... :)

On personal front, my personal account with HSBC has been a hell. No service levels at all... bureaucratic chaos!
 

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...my personal account with HSBC has been a hell. No service levels at all... bureaucratic chaos!
I must be one of the lucky ones, my experiences with HSBC have always been top notch...
 
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